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What is Adventure Racing?

Pronunciation: ad-ven-cher
Function: noun
1 a : an undertaking usually involving unknown risks
   b : the encountering of risks
2 : an exciting or remarkable experience

Pronunciation: reys
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): raced; rac∑ing
1 : to compete in a race
2 : to go or move at top speed or out of control

The above definitions give a sense of what adventure racing is all about. Sound interesting? Read on…

Adventure Racing (often referred to as "AR") is a multi-sport team activity usually involving trail running, mountain biking, paddling and orienteering. Races often include other "Mystery Events" that are unveiled mid-race. The sport is meant to test participants both physically and mentally in multiple activities over varied lengths of time – from a few hours to many days. Teams usually consist of two, three or four members whether male, female or coed. Unlike other endurance sports, teamwork plays an important role as team members must travel together at all times throughout the race. Team dynamics often affect the performance of each team.

Adventure Racing is many things to many people. Ask five adventure racers what Adventure Racing is to them, and youíll get five different answers. Hereís an example of what you might hear:

Adventure Racing is Escape. Leaving the humming of computers, the ghost-pale glow of fluorescent lights and the constant buzzing of cell phones and instead feeling my heart pound in my chest while planning the strategy of our next event makes me feel on the edge, if only for a day.

Adventure Racing is Competition in Perspective. I compete, I race hard and I even snarl once in a while, but I will stop and help an injured or disabled team, even if it means the difference between winning and losing. Have you ever seen that in a triathlon? How about track and field? No? Well, youíll see it in any given adventure race from any given team, regardless of position.

Adventure Racing is Finding My Limit, and Leaving it Behind. In almost every race Iíve completed, I have thought to myself "I canít go any further or any faster" only to realize that there are two more events left or another hour of racing ahead of us. Teammates make each other stronger. Whether by words of encouragement or fear of disappointing them, they help us hurdle our mental, physical and emotional obstacles.

Adventure Racing is Adventure. Every race is different, every time you race it.

Adventure Racing is Fun. Iíve participated in several different multi-sport events – triathlons, duathlons and such, and none of those have the feeling of adventure races. Everyone talks to each other pre-race like they are out camping or something. During the race, people exchange smiles, "How you doin's?" and "Keep it ups!" I didn't realize that competition could be so much fun.

Adventure Racing is many things to many people, and after your first you will no doubt have a definition of your own.


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